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Extinguishment of Easements by Merger

  There are many ways that an easement can be extinguished or terminated. In this post, I discuss how an easement can be extinguished by merger. In later post we will discuss situations where an easement is not extinguished by merger. As discussed in some of our previous posts, by definition, an easement is the right to use or prevent use of the land of another. As a result, a person cannot have an easement on his or her own land. (See Civ. Code § 805.) Therefore, as further discussed below, an easement can be extinguished when the same person acquires the fee title to both dominant and servient tenements. (See Leggio v. Haggerty (1965) 231 Cal.App.2d 873, 881.) A merger occurs where the same person owns both the

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What Is An Easement?

An easement is an intangible interest in the land of another that gives its owner the limited right to: (a) use the land of the other person; or (b) prevent the other property owner’s use of his or her property. (Mehdizadeh v. Mincer (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1296, 1306.) The land that is entitled to the benefit of the easement is called the dominant tenement. The land that is burdened by the easement is called the servient tenement. Easements may be affirmative or negative. An affirmative easement gives its owner the right to do something on the land of another. One example of an affirmative easement is when on person has the right to cross over another person’s land. Another example of an affirmative easement is

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